Military again seeks to replace UN envoy

THE country’s military rulers are again seeking to replace the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, who opposed their Feb 1 ouster of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and takeover of the government.

Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he had appointed Aung Thurein, who left the military earlier this year after 26 years, as Myanmar’s UN ambassador.

A copy of the letter was obtained on Tuesday by The Associated Press.

Lwin said in an accompanying letter that Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar’s currently recognised UN ambassador, “has been terminated on Feb 27, 2021, due to abuses of his assigned duty and mandate”.

In a dramatic speech to a General Assembly meeting on Myanmar on Feb 26 – weeks after the military takeover – Tun appealed for “the strongest possible action from the international community” to restore democracy to the country.

He also urged all countries to strongly condemn the coup, refuse to recognise the military regime and ask the military leaders to respect the November 2020 elections won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

“We will continue to fight for a government which is of the people, by the people, for the people,” Tun said in a speech that drew loud applause from diplomats in the assembly chamber who called it “powerful”, “brave” and “courageous”.The military’s previous attempt to oust Tun failed and there has been no reported action on the foreign minister’s letter, which is dated May 12.

The 193-member General Assembly is in charge of accrediting diplomats. A request for accreditation must first go to its nine-member credentials committee, which this year comprises Cameroon, China, Iceland, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tanzania, the United States and Uruguay.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said as far as he understood, no meeting of the credentials committee had been scheduled.

In June, the UN said Antonio had indicated that the results of the November election that gave a strong second mandate to Suu Kyi’s party must be upheld.

A UN-established probe has recommended the prosecution of Myanmar’s top military commanders on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for the 2017 military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims that forced 700,000 to flee to Bangladesh. — AP

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